In September 2020, Bubble launched our Immerse pre-accelerator for Black founders; our first cohort has officially graduated and launched their apps with no-code tools, becoming part of the growing Black startup ecosystem that we are proud to support.
In 2021, we’re going to be expanding and iterating on Immerse to broaden our goal of getting more underrepresented people building web products with no-code. Here are some of the changes you’ll see:
Introducing Immerse sections
Starting in 2021, we will be running 2 sections in each cohort. One section for Black founders and another section for founders who identify as Indigenous or people of color.
When we launched the initial Immerse application, we were overwhelmed by interest from not only Black & Afro-Latinx founders, but also founders of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. In the end, we had to turn hundreds of founders away because we wanted to make sure this first cohort could be a safe space for Black innovation. What we saw from the first cohort was that creating this safe space was hugely beneficial, allowing founders to collaborate and empathize with each other genuinely.
As we looked to grow the Immerse program for 2021, we knew we needed to keep that space for Black innovation. But we also wanted to expand the program to allow more people to participate. So for 2021, we decided to add a second section to each cohort for founders of color, while retaining the original section for Black founders. This way, any founder of color can participate in the Immerse program and we can continue to serve the mission of helping underrepresented founders build their products and get connected to the tech ecosystem.
New Immerse program format
Starting in 2021, the Immerse program will be split into 3 parts - first, an Intro to Bubble, then a Product Accelerator, and finally Demo Day Prep.
In this first cohort, we realized that we were doing 3 different functions with each founder, all at the same time: helping them learn Bubble, coaching them through building their products, and preparing those products for demo day. However, by doing all three at once, it made it difficult for founders to properly leverage their time and be most effective. By splitting time to focus on each function, we can be sure that each founder has the proper knowledge before they start building and the proper context before they start prepping for demo day.
New Immerse application
We’ve modified the Immerse application to include a wireframe upload and a recorded video interview.
Immerse is a very product-heavy pre-accelerator. During the program, founders spend over 100 hours during the 10 weeks building and optimizing their products. As we launch this next cohort, we wanted to be sure that the application process properly reflects this product focus.
Additionally, during the interview process, we were only able to hear from founders who we could schedule time with on short notice. By adding the recorded video interview step, we will be able to hear from many more founders than we were able to before due to time constraints.
Introducing the Immerse Mentor Network
We’ve built a network of operators and investors who serve as informal mentors to each cohort and appear as guest speakers in weekly sessions.
One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we received from the inaugural cohort was that they loved the opportunity to meet real founders & investors who have been in their shoes before or worked closely with founders who have. Similarly, each of the guests who stopped by had a great experience and wanted to get more involved. As a result, we are opening the Immerse mentor network to anyone who is interested in providing guidance to Immerse founders as they build their products. Profiles founders thought were msot helpful were:
- Pre-seed / seed stage investor
- Co-founder of a seed to Series A startup
- Growth marketer
- Operations lead
If you’re interested in joining the network (or know someone who could be a good fit), sign up here.
Have any questions? Reach out to us.
Ready? Apply for the 2021 Immerse cohort here.
Immerse is a free no-code pre-accelerator for Black, Indigenous, and POC (people of color) founders.
Our next 2021 cohort will run from February 3rd - April 7th, with a demo day on April 15th.
Less than 1% of VC investments go to Black founders. 42% of Black businesses closed this year due to COVID-19. Black, Indigenous, and POC founders as a whole only represent 23% of VC funded companies.
Our goal is to help change that narrative by supporting Black, Indigenous, and POC entrepreneurs. We are excited for you to be a part of this story!